by Jeanne Gehret

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Philadelphia has just picked the design for a new statue honoring Harriet Tubman. Perhaps you saw this news item recently. So much has been written about her extreme bravery and dedication to humankind. But seldom do we read about the fact that she backed up all her dangerous Underground Railroad activity with prayer.

Prayer and the Underground Railroad

The new statue expresses Tubman’s connection between prayer and the Underground Railroad. As she led enslaved individuals to freedom, Tubman relied on prayer to guide her decisions and ensure their safety. She would often pray for protection, divine intervention, and guidance during perilous journeys. Tubman’s deep faith reassured those she led, providing them with hope and comfort during their escape.

Faith into action

As if it were not enough to spirit away so many enslaved people to freedom, Tubman also put her faith into action long after the Civil War ended. Working closely with her own place of worship, she founded the ten-room Harriet Tubman Home for Aged and Infirm Negroes in Auburn, New York. According to Dorothy Wickenden, author of The Agitators, that is where Tubman herself died.

In an earlier post this year I mentioned three other portraits of Tubman that I’ve admired. Read about them here. That earlier post features a work by Wesley Wofford, mentioned in connection with the new Philadelphia statue.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Carol Crossed December 8, 2023 at 9:25 am - Reply

    If any readers to this blog are in New Jersey, consider a visit to the Harriet Tubman Museum in Cape May. For 2 years and before she journeyed to Philadelphia, Tubman worked in what is now Congress Hall, not far from the Delaware Bay where she helped slaves cross to freedom. In the summer, there is a trolley tour that gives more information and takes you to the shallow and reed-filled Bay site where slaves disembarked what must have been a small boat. Very moving to see this spot.

  2. Pat Anthony December 8, 2023 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    Praise God for this article and for the beautiful statue that honors Harriet Tubman’s faith in God and her bravery leading escaped slaves to freedom! What an example of true faith lived out in real life.

    • Jeanne Gehret April 21, 2024 at 11:29 am - Reply

      I like your phrase “true faith lived out in real life.” Thanks for that.

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